Heinz UK, a Kraft Heinz company, recently made the packaging format switch for its multi-packed soups from plastic (LDPE) shrink wrap to a paperboard multipack. In doing so, it became first to market with WestRock’s Cluster-Wing™ paperboard multipack design. Heinz’s implementation of this patent-pending packaging innovation gives it a sustainable and functional alternative to single-use plastic shrink wrap packaging.
“The new Heinz Eco-Friendly Sleeve design was developed in close collaboration between Heinz and WestRock, and it features a robust and convenient handle that enables consumers to carry multiple cans of Heinz Soups, Beanz, and Pasta products,” says Anke von Hanstein, Brand Manager, Heinz Soups at The Kraft Heinz Company. “The design underwent rigorous consumer and pack performance testing to ensure it is comfortable, secure, and convenient for shoppers.”
The move advances Heinz’s sustainability initiatives. According to the company, it will eliminate 550 tons of plastic packaging from its supply chain. The glue-free pack design uses 50% less paperboard material than a fully enclosed box and 10% less material than a traditional sleeve design. Made with WestRock’s PEFC-certified CarrierKote® paperboard, the new sleeve comes from sustainably managed forests, is recyclable, and is produced using up to 15% recycled fiber, adding a circular element.
“Our comprehensive approach to packaging means that Kraft Heinz aims to make 100 percent recyclable, reusable, or compostable packaging by 2025. The biggest challenge with current multipack shrink-wrapped items is the recycling infrastructure of flexible plastics in the UK. Currently, 96 percent of these films are not being recycled,” says von Hanstein.
Automation used to apply these sleeves is part of a three-year, £25 million ($35 million) investment and installation of three new packaging lines at Heinz’s Kitt Green, UK, factory. Tertiary packaging and pallet configurations are not affected by the change as the carton multipacks will be packed in the same corrugated trays as current shrink wrap multipacks.
“With the launch of our e-commerce soup bundle we have launched a national media and PR campaign to create awareness and drive education around the new packaging. Additionally, we are educating our consumers on our Website and e-Commerce platforms,” von Hanstein adds. “Our on-pack communication reflects clear messaging on recyclability and sustainability – calling out that it is from sustainably managed forests and is fully recyclable and from renewable sources. We have included the PEFC logo front and back of pack, as well as the UK recyclability OPRL logo.”
From a shelf impact and design perspective, the WestRock’s CarrierKote material employs a proprietary clay coating that gives it a smooth, opaque surface and enables crisp, vibrant graphics, as accompanying images demonstrate. Available now across Heinz Soups product range as part of the “winter bundle” on the Heinz to Home e-commerce platform, these new paperboard multipacks will be launching across all Heinz’s canned products and major retailers in the UK in fall 2021. - PW